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Psychologist Martin Seligman suggests sending a letter or email of gratitude to somebody, then visiting that person and reading it to them. People who say ‘thank you’ are measurably happier and less depressed.

The CEO of Campbell Soup wrote over sixteen thousand thank-you notes to his employees, and energised the entire company in the process. So, encourage your friends and co-workers by letting them know you appreciate what they do.

One author observes: ‘You have it in your power to increase the sum total of the world’s happiness by giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who’s lonely or discouraged. Perhaps you’ll forget the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them for a lifetime.’

Make a habit of encouraging your family and your friends. Let your wife know she’s the only woman in the world for you. Express appreciation for your husband’s care and sense of responsibility. Applaud your teenager for avoiding drugs and alcohol. Thank your friends for keeping your secrets! Accept people as they are, and resist the temptation to constantly ‘fix’ something about them.

Remember, you only have them for a short time!